E-juices are those liquids used in e-cigarettes that are vaporized at very high temperatures in vaping chambers and the aerosol so generated is inhaled by the users.
Over the last few decades vaping has gained recognition as one of the smoking cessation techniques.
By producing a feeling that closely resembles tobacco smoking, but without the risk of hazardous chemicals associated with it, vaping reduces the dependence on real cigarettes.
The most important part of a vaping device is the e-liquid that is contained in it. The choice of e-liquid depends on various factors that have been analyzed here.
What are e-liquids made of?
E-Liquids are usually made out of propylene glycol, limited amounts of nicotine, vegetable glycerin, nicotine, water and other additive flavours.
The combination of these ingredients create the required taste and aroma which makes vaping a relieving experience for smokers.
E-cigarettes come in various shapes and sizes and so do vaping tanks. There are thousands of e-liquid flavours that are available in the market.
The choice is made difficult by innumerable brands offering the product. Vapers must choose that e-liquid that can replicate the smoking experience for them and can help in easing withdrawal symptoms.
A number of determinants such as vapour density, cost, availability, flavour and taste go into choosing the best e-liquid for an e-cigarette.
Nicotine Content in the E-liquid
A proper and healthy balance needs to be maintained with regards to the nicotine content preference in the e-liquid.
Too less a nicotine proportion in the e-liquid will do nothing to draw away the person from smoking, since vaping will provide only zero-level satisfaction and can result in a relapse.
- The amount of nicotine content required depends on the quantity of cigarettes smoked by the person, before making the decision to quit.
- Stronger nicotine cravings will result in needs for stronger throat hits.
- While heavy smokers may require a nicotine content of more than 25mgs, medium to occasional smokers may require anywhere between 15mg to 18mg, to appease their cravings.
- It is possible to order e-liquids with customized nicotine proportions to suit the needs of vapers.
Buying from a reputed brand
Buying from a reputed manufacturer or seller is of prime importance in shopping for the right e-liquid for your e-cigarette.
The e-liquid market is vast with a number of sub-standard and compromised brews also entering the scene, that can result in waste of money. Buying from reputed brands is important because:
- There is a possibility of harmful chemicals and toxins, blended in dangerous proportions when e-liquids are bought from non-standard suppliers.
- E-liquids manufactured hygienically and in well-equipped laboratories that follow strict quality monitoring are safe for use.
- Manufacturing e-liquids includes the laborious practise of blending different chemicals in right proportions by highly trained and certified chemists. Any amateur trial by inexperienced people, will prove fatal for public health.
- The manufacturers must be approved by the concerned legal authority in the country for such purposes. For example, vapers in the US look for approval by the USP (United States Pharmacopeia) and look down upon importers and amateur home brewers. The USP protocols are observed in many countries, even outside US as a benchmark for evaluating the quality of e-liquids.
The VG/PG ratio
VG PG ratio is the proportion between Vegetable Glycerin and Propylene Glycol. It is a very important determinant in choosing the e-liquid for your vaping tank.
The thumb rule is that an e-juice with higher PG content tends to be strong in flavour and throat-hit, while the one with higher VG content is softer on throat. The other points to be considered are:
- The type of cloud production desired is one of the deciding factor for determining the proportion. E-juices with higher VG content produce more cloud.
- Vegetable Glycerin is known more for its natural properties and less for chemical properties. It is made from the extract of plant oils like soy, palm and coconut oil and results in higher rate of gunk build-up and residue. Also VG results in lesser allergic reactions than PG.
- While a tinge of originating flavours is retained in e-juices with higher VG proportion, PG is odourless and tasteless.
- PG is an organic compound made from Propylene Oxide. It is very popular among vapers for amazing rates of throat hit that aids in easing withdrawal symptoms during smoking cessation.
- It is low in density and is absorbed easier and quicker by the polyfill fabrics present in vaping devices and expedites the vaping process, when compared to e-juices with high VG proportion.
- Vapours released from heating e-juices with higher PG content are warmer. High PG e-juices are popular because of higher vapour temperatures.
Since both VG and PG are associated with respective pros and cons, it will be unwise to go in either for 100% VG or 100% PG, though such combinations are possible and are available in market.
One can try different proportions before finalizing on the optimal flavour of e-juice, based on VG PG ratio. Usually deciding on a 70% : 30% or 50%:50% between PG and VG is recommended.
Choosing between different flavours
The e-juice market is flooded with various sweet, spicy and fruity flavours that cater to the taste buds of smokers. It is recommended not to get addicted to any particular flavour, but to keep experimenting with them.
There are many do-it-yourself vapers who try to create their own blends of e-liquids. In general, the following points are to be borne in mind when choosing the ideal flavour:
- Ensure that the flavour tastes like your preferred edible or drink. For example if you are a lover of candies, go in for a sweet flavour. However, this does not mean that one must not try out new flavours, since the same flavours offered by two different brands may differ in taste.
- Before choosing your ideal flavour, allow a trial period and try out many flavours, before you identify your preferences.
- The chosen e-juice must effectively reduce dependence on nicotine. If it tastes very much like nicotine itself, there is no point in switching from cigarettes to e-cigarettes.
- Vapers must choose e-liquids that lead to cutting down on cigarettes totally, by lowering the amount of nicotine intake. It is not necessary to maintain the same level of nicotine content as smokers intake when they smoke tobacco cigarettes. Smokers can opt for a slightly reduced level so as to aid in reducing physical dependence on nicotine.
Steeping is the process of oxidizing the ingredients present in the e-liquids for enhanced taste and flavour.
In this process some of the volatile compounds of e-juices like alcohol get replaced with oxygen, leading to the ageing effect of e-liquids. It is the process of allowing the e-juices to undergo chemical changes to bring in the Maillard reaction.
When it comes to choosing the best e-liquid, expert vapers always ensure that the e-juices are well-steeped.
However, this subject meets with tough criticism amongst some vapers who believe that no changes in taste or property occur due to steeping and that it is a mere waste of time.
Does e-juice shade matter?
The flavouring base of the e-juice determines its shade. It is essential to choose between darker and lighter shades available in the market.
This is because, e-juices with dark shades are bound to leave behind larger traces of resins, when compared to those with paler shade. As a result dark shaded e-juices will decrease the life span of atomizers.
The Viscosity factor
How thick or thin your e-liquid is, matters a lot. Thicker e-liquids result in more cloud production when compared to thinner ones.
However thicker e-juices will result in problems with wicking and in the incessant production of heated vapours. Vapers who prefer a vapor cloud with high density must go in for highly viscous e-juices.
- Usually e-juices with higher proportion of Vegetable Glycerin are more viscous when compared to those with high proportion of PG. Vapers who prefer more vapour density and lesser throat hit can choose viscous e-juices.
- Another factor closely related to viscosity is the type of vaping tank used. For vapers who use MTL tanks, e-juices that are less viscous are recommended, since MTL tanks have restricted juice flow and smaller juice flow channels. Users of sub-ohm tanks can go in for e-liquids with higher viscosity, since they are equipped with liberal airflow and juice flow settings. Thick vapour production is possible in these cases.
- Another interrelated factor is the price of e-liquids and the affordability of vapers. E-juices with high density are consumed faster in sub-ohm tanks, necessitating greater consumption of e-liquids.
On a concluding note it can be stated that choice of e-liquid depends on reputability of brand, the proportion between VG and PG and the flavour that is appealing to taste buds.
The other key factors to be focused on are the vapour density and temperature preferred, the nicotine content that the body is used to as well as the intensity of throat hit and cloud production required.